The Government Accountability for Family Planning Budgets project supports civil society advocates in sub-Saharan Africa to hold their governments accountable for increasing domestic investments in family planning and improving the transparency of budget data.
Globally, civil society plays an important role in ensuring that country governments mobilize resources to meet the urgent need of sustained national ownership of family planning. In many low- and middle-income countries, there is insufficient domestic investment for these health services and supplies, especially in comparison to donor funding. Lack of government ownership is evident when domestic allocations for family planning budgets are minimal compared to the total funding needed to deliver quality programs and care. Through the Government Accountability for Family Planning Budgets project, civil society organizations monitor budgets to hold governments accountable for increasing family planning investments and ensure that these funds are properly disbursed and spent. Since this tracking and analysis work relies on the availability of government budget data, our partners advocate for the transparency of family planning allocations, disbursements and expenditures.
In fiscal year 2017-2018, Government Accountability for Family Planning Budgets partners in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia revealed through budget tracking that each of their governments allocate less than 10% of the estimated funding needed for family planning programs.
In recent years, country governments in sub-Saharan Africa have made commitments to mobilize internally generated revenue to finance family planning programs because donor funding is often unpredictable, can be tied to harmful policy restrictions and undermines their incentives to meet funding needs with domestic resources. To fulfill these commitments, both in national strategies and regional and international initiatives, such as the Ouagadougou Partnership and Family Planning 2020, governments must allocate funds through national and subnational budget processes and guarantee disbursement and expenditure.
Civil society organizations have stepped up to lead accountability efforts around their government’s financial commitments for family planning. Strengthened through budget monitoring and advocacy, civil society’s efforts can, over time, build sustained domestic resource mobilization and government ownership of family planning. This work depends on the public availability of official budget data — on funding needs, allocations, disbursements and expenditures — so that civil society organizations have evidence for their advocacy to ensure commitments are translated into budgetary actions.
Beginning in 2016, PAI has convened family planning budget advocates annually to exchange their expertise. Through these discussions, we worked with our partners to create a set of indicators known as the Common Framework for Measuring Government Spending on Family Planning, which established standard language for reporting family planning budget expenditures across countries. The Common-Framework is designed to assess follow-through on government commitments to family planning throughout the planning and budget cycle — from funding need to allocation, disbursement, expenditure and finally, outcome — as well as to measure and compare civil society access to official budget data, or budget transparency.
Following this cycle is the link between evidence-based budget advocacy and accountability. PAI partners have since piloted the Common Framework and developed an advocacy tool, the Family Planning Budget Scorecard. These scorecards highlight civil society findings and evaluate government performance on both investments in family planning and the transparency of family planning budget data.
The extent to which we’re able to put evidence on the table, that’s been the game-changer.Abigail Dzimadzi, former executive director, MANASO